On Elementary Science

Engage NY was easy to use and my kids liked it. Perfect.

In my first year of teaching, I’ve received a wealth of information on teaching reading, and a decent amount about teaching math, and next to nothing about teaching science. I’m not complaining! I understand why – so much of elementary school (especially lower elementary) is about building a foundation so that students can learn later on. That’s why there’s so much emphasis on reading in first grade – it’s where students do so much of learning to read.

Still, science is a thing that I teach, and I really like teaching it. We do science after math, right at the end of the day. I like doing something that’s heavy on carpet time, and things that are immediate. When we were learning about the human body, we did a lot of movements – bending to help understand what joints are, flexing our arms to show what muscles are, that kind of thing.

For the first semester, I used curricula from EngageNY’s Listening and Learning strand – The Human Body and Animals and Habitats.

Both of them are read alouds with a flip book included, which I put up on my projector. Since the projector was on, I had the lights off, which had the added bonus of making my classroom feel a little more calm at the end of the day. Also, it totally helped with some our speaking and listening standards, right?

Now that I’ve used all the Engage NY curricula that are related to our state science standards, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do. We have a science textbook, so that’s one resource, but I’d like to do something more fun and engaging than reading a textbook.

The next topic we’re covering is living and non-living things, then we’ll move on to parts of plants. For the lesson plans I’m writing now, I’m using some passages from the textbook, some videos I found online, and some stuff that I’ve put together myself. When I make materials myself, I’m always worried that it’s not rigorous enough, not good enough, not challenging enough. That’s something that you get a better sense of with time, right?